This I Believe

10 04 2011

I just finished reading This I Believe:  The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.  This I Believe is based on NPR’s radio series of the same name that was wildly popular in the 1950s.  Eighty essays by famous and not-until-recently famous Americans each complete the thought that begins the title of the book.

 

I received several gems of wisdom and conviction that I am not likely to forget.

  • In an essay titled “Always Go to the Funeral” by Deirdre Sullivan, an attorney in Brooklyn, Sullivan writes of the values her father instilled in her by making her attend funerals of people she knew.  Sullivan writes, “In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil.  It’s hardly so epic.  Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”
  • In an essay titled “When Ordinary People Achieve Ordinary Things” by Jody Williams, the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Williams touches on the same idea.  “I believe words are easy.  I believe the truth is told in the actions we take.”

These essays, among others, caused me to really think about what I believe.  If I were asked to write such an essay, what would mine be about? 

 

None of the following thoughts are essays in and of themselves.  Some are core beliefs, others are not. 

 

Regarding my spiritual beliefs:

  • I believe there is only one way to eternal life in paradise, through acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” –John 14:6
  • I believe Satan is real.  I believe his powers are limited.  I believe he is defeated by the name of Jesus Christ.
  • I believe in the power of forgiveness.
  • I believe that only through grace and faith can we truly find “peace that passes all understanding” –Philippians 4:7, even in the darkest of circumstances.
  • I believe in that through prayer, we have the power of the creator of the universe at our disposal.
  • I believe God can redeem any situation—the most miserable marriage, the longest-held grudge, the hardest of hearts.  “Nothing is too hard for you.” –Jeremiah 32:17.
  • I believe in fasting to draw nearer to the heart of God.
  • I believe in the power of community and teamship.  Jesus did not live in isolation; neither should I.  I believe in being transparent and honest and with my team members, and I believe living this way will lead to blessings.
  • I believe life begins at conception.  As such, I believe abortion for any reason and at any time is the murder of an innocent human life.
  • I believe God created sexual intimacy to be an incredible blessing for the covenant of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage.  I believe that remaining sexually pure until after the wedding offers the most amazing blessings  God has given us in this gift.

 

Concerning parenting:

  • I believe parents should be parents first, not friends—until much later in life.  I believe in setting boundaries for your children and enforcing discipline.
  • I believe I am my sons’ greatest role model in all areas of life.  I believe it is my duty, first and foremost before it is anyone else’s duty, to train my children to make good decisions, to value education, to be financially responsible, to be sexually pure and honor their bodies (among many other things.)  I believe none of these issues is a one-time discussion, but a life-long continual dialogue.
  • I believe that parents should not live vicariously through their children.  Be an adult and get a life of your own.

 

In terms of education:

  • I believe that parents play a crucial role in their children’s education.  I believe a teacher can only do so much.  I believe testing can only accomplish so much.  I believe new resources and free lunches only go so far.  I believe extraordinary facilities and modern technology cannot replace a parent’s influence on the home front.
  • I believe in memorizing the multiplication tables.  I believe America is in a sad, sad state when high school students need a calculator to multiply 72 x 2.
  • I believe tenure is a bad idea.  (This coming from an educator of 15 years who has taught in both public and private institutions.)

 

Other random thoughts:

  • I believe in serving others as much as we possibly can.  I believe giving of my time is as important as giving of my financial resources.
  • I believe in the supremacy of the First Amendment.  I believe that all people should be allowed to freely and peacefully express their opinions and beliefs without threat of persecution.
  • I believe that sometimes it is best to agree to disagree.
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